Caffeine & Machine – 3 July 2021

A bit of planning is required to be able to visit the ever popular Caffeine & Machine venue at weekends and other busy periods, as tickets are required, and these tend to sell out a few days before the time you desire to visit. That they do so means, of course, that you are pretty much guaranteed to find a yard full of cars, many of which come in the “interesting” category. Some, of course, are simply modern enthusiast machines, but you are also very likely to find classics and some rarities, cars that perhaps were once common but which have now all but disappeared. That was certainly the case for this visit, which was the mid afternoon slot on Saturday 3rd July. I had wondered just how full the place would be, as the forecast was not promising, and there was the small matter of a rather important football match in the evening which might have deterred people from turning out for the afternoon. My apprehensions proved mis-placed on both counts. It stayed dry all the time I was on site, though some vehicles did arrive dripping wet, and I found huge puddles only a few miles down the road when I left, before driving through a cloudburst, and there were plenty of people and their cars present, as this report evidences. Here are the highlights:

ALFA ROMEO

The 166 may have failed to hit the jackpot, but the next Alfa certainly did. This was the 147, launched at the 2000 Turin Motor Show as a replacement for the 145 and 146 hatchbacks, and based on the running gear of the larger 156 saloon. Designed by Walter de’Silva and Wolfgang Egger, the 147 received considerable praise for its styling on launch, later it was awarded with some styling awards. It was available initially with 1.6, 2.0, petrol engines and a 1.9-litre diesel engine. A sequential, paddle operated ‘Selespeed’ transmission was available from launch. Two trim levels were available, Turismo and Lusso. The 147 was the first Alfa Romeo to feature dual-zone climate control and electronic traction control. Although some thought the car had lost of some of the Alfa magic, it was well received and was awarded the Car of the Year trophy a few weeks after launch. The entire 147 range was revamped in 2004, with the exterior styling changed considerably to be more reminiscent of the new 159 and Brera models, and Alfa Romeo Visconti concept car, most notably for its more aggressive look, with a new front grille, new headlights, new rear lights and the interior was updated on all models besides the GTA version. A new more powerful diesel engine arrived and suspension was also tweaked. In 2006, the 147 1.9 JTD Q2 version was launched, which featured a front Torsen limited slip differential. Alfa Romeo presented a new limited edition 147 called Ducati Corse at the 2007 Bologna Motor Show. The car came equipped with a 170 PS (68 hp) JTD diesel engine and Q2, a front Torsen limited slip differential. The 147 was in production for ten years, making it one of the oldest small family cars on sale in Europe at the time of its replacement by the Alfa Romeo Giulietta in late May 2010. In total around 580,000 cars were made.

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ASTON MARTIN

This is a DBS. Aston Martin had used the DBS name once before on their 1967–72 grand tourer coupe. The modern car replaced the 2004 Vanquish S as the flagship of the marque, and was a V12-engined super grand tourer based on the DB9. The DBS was officially unveiled at the 2007 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on 16 August 2007, which featured a brand new exterior colour (graphite grey with a blue tint) which has been dubbed “Lightning Silver”, followed by an appearance at the 2007 Frankfurt motor show. Deliveries of the DBS began in Q1 2008. The convertible version of the DBS dubbed the DBS Volante was unveiled at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show on 3 March 2009. The DBS Volante includes a motorized retractable fabric roof controlled by a button in the centre console and can fold into the compartment located behind the seats in 14 seconds after the press of the button. The roof can be opened or closed while at speeds up to 48 km/h (30 mph). Apart from the roof, changes include a new wheel design available for both the coupé and volante versions and a 2+2 seating configuration also available for both versions. Other features include rear-mounted six-speed manual or optional six-speed ‘Touchtronic 2’ automatic gearbox, Bang & Olufsen BeoSound DBS in-car entertainment system with 13 speakers. Deliveries of the DBS Volante began in Q3 2009. The model was replaced by a new generation Vanquish in 2012.

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BENTLEY

This is the latest FlyingSpur, launched in early 2020 and now, following the demise of the Mulsanne, the only four door saloon in the Bentley range. I have to say I am not convinced by the fussier detailing of this version compared to its predecessor, but that seems to be a general trend in car design at present, and the defenders tells us that this is apparently what customers want.

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BMW

BMW’s most recent supercar is the futuristic i8, and there were examples of both this and the recently added Roadster version here. The Roadster was launched at the 2017 Los Angeles Show in December, and it is only now that the first right hand drive cars are reaching the UK, three years after the first of the closed coupe models went on sale. For the Roadster, the basic parameters are the same as the Coupe: plug-in hybrid powertrain, housed an aluminium chassis with a carbon-fibre monotub. But the battery boasts a higher capacity, and the hybrid powertrain more muscle to take the i8 even further (and faster). The 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine now produces 231 bhp (up from 228), and the electric motor 143 hp (up from 131 hp) for a combined output of 374 hp to rocket the i8 coupe from a standstill to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, and the roadster in 4.4 as they rocket towards their electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. With a battery pack upgraded from 20 Ah to 34 Ah and from 7.1 kWh to 11.6, it’ll also travel on electric power alone at speeds of up to 65 mph (instead of just 43 mph) – or 75 mph in eDrive mode. All-electric range is up to 34 miles (for the coupe, 33 for the convertible) on the ambitious New European Driving Cycle. The key new thing in the Roadster is the folding soft-top. Aside from the slight performance penalty, it does mean sacrificing the rear seats, but with the inherent rigidity of the carbon cell, chopping the roof off nets only a 132-pound weight penalty for a curb weight quoted at 3,516 lbs. That roof, incidentally, can raise and lower in just 15 seconds at speeds of up to 31 mph, folding into a compact Z-shaped vertical stack. The suspension’s been retuned for the roadster too, and new wheels for both versions reduce unsprung weight. These changes have been applied to the Coupe as well.

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There were, of course, a number of M version BMWs here. The only ones to attract my camera were from the E90 generation of 3 series cars. he M3 model of the E90/E92/E93 3 Series range was powered by the BMW S65 V8 engine and was produced in sedan, convertible and coupé body styles. The E9x is the first and only standard production M3 powered by a V8 engine as its successor would revert to using a straight 6 engine. In the standard M3, the S65 engine rated at 420 PS (414 bhp) at 8,300 rpm and 400 Nm (295 lb/ft) at 3,900 rpm. Initially, the M3 was produced with a 6-speed manual transmission. In April 2008, the E90/E92/E93 M3 became the first BMW to be available with a dual-clutch transmission when the 7-speed Getrag “M-DCT” transmission was introduced as an option. The official 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) acceleration times for the coupé and sedan are 4.6 seconds with the DCT transmission (4.8 seconds with the manual transmission) and 5.1 seconds for the convertible. The E90 and E92 versions received many positive reviews, including “the greatest all-around car in the world”, “the finest car on the market, period”and “the best, most complete car in the world”. Total production of the E9x M3 was 40,092 coupés, 16,219 convertibles and 9,674 sedans. Production of sedan models finished in 2011, with coupés remaining in production until July 5, 2013.

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CUPRA

These two examples of the Cupra Leon arrived together and allowed for a back-to-back comparison of new and old. The previous generation Cupra was still badged as a Seat, but the latest one is just a Cupra Leon. I am still not entirely convinced I prefer the latest styling and I know, even without having tried it, that the decision to put too many functions on the touchscreen would be continually irksome, but I suspect that to drive it is rather good. Hopefully, I will get the chance to find out!

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FODEN

Certainly the largest vehicle present, and one that gathered a lot of attention when it arrived not long before I needed to leave, this is a 1955 Foden S18 8 x 4 truck. Foden Trucks was a British truck and bus manufacturing company, which had its origins in Elworth near Sandbach in 1856. Paccar acquired the company in 1980, and ceased to use the marque name in 2006. Postwar initially had the reintroduction of the old models with few improvements, although Foden entered the bus chassis market in 1946 (a number of prototypes, including a double-decker had been built in the 1930s); by 1950, they had developed a rear-engined model, antedating the Leyland Atlantean by seven years. Although the Foden PVR was a high-framed single decker, the cruciform chassis bracing used by Foden made an underfloor engine location, as in the competitive AEC Regal IV, Leyland Royal Tiger, or Daimler Freeline, not possible. The completely new FE and FG lorry ranges were introduced in 1948, along with the new Foden FD6 two-stroke diesel engine, which became the standard engine for certain Foden heavy lorry models, such as the S18 FE6/15 Rigid Eight-Wheeler – the optional Gardner 6LW-engined version was the S18 FG6/15. (The S18 designation refers to the new cab that was produced for the new range.) The FD6 two-stroke engine, along with Gardner engines, was also fitted in Foden motorcoaches and buses. Only one Foden PVD double decker had the Foden engine, but it was popular in the PVS and PVR single-deckers, especially in coaching applications because it was much higher revving than the Gardner 5LW or 6LW. Bus and coach production ceased in 1956, but the last chassis only left the works in 1959, when it was registered 367CKA and received an early Plaxton Panorama body. In 1958 lightweight glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) used in cab production was introduced, and this led to the manufacture of the first British-built, mass-produced tilting cab in 1962. The first Foden GRP cab was the distinctively styled S21 model.

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FORD

Sporting Ford models are inveterate attendees at this venue, so it was no surprise to find a couple of examples of the latest Fiesta ST, still rated as one of the most fun “affordable” cars you can buy.

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The Mark 3 Escort here was a sporting car as well, which is not unusual, as most of the “cooking” versions have simply disappeared. A sporting model was announced with the 1.1, 1.,3 and 1,6 litre cars in October 1980. This was the XR3, and it came initially with a carb fed 1.6 litre engine generating 105 bhp and had a four speed gearbox. For 1983, it was upgraded to 115bhp thanks to the use of fuel injection and a five speed transmission had been standardised. Both variants proved very popular, getting a significant percentage of Escort sales and also as a slightly more affordable alternative to a Golf GTi. For those for whom the performance was not quite enough, Ford had an answer, withe the RS Turbo. This 132 PS car was shown in October 1984, as a top of the range car, offering more power than the big-selling XR3i and the limited production RS1600i. Going on sale in the spring of 1985, it proved to be somewhat of a disappointment, with the chassis coming in for severe criticism. The RS Turbo Series 1 was only marketed in a few European nations as production was limited to 5,000 examples, all in white. They were well equipped, with the alloy wheels from the limited production RS 1600i, Recaro seats, and a limited slip differential. One car only was finished in black; it was built especially for Lady Diana. Ford facelifted the entire Escort range in January 1986, and a few months later, a revised Series 2 RS Turbo emerged, which adopted the styling changes of the less potent models, and the new dashboard, as well as undergoing a mechanical revision and the addition of more equipment including anti-lock brakes. The Series 2 cars were available in a wider range of colours. Seen here was a second generation RS Turbo.

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Something rather different from the Ford stable was this 1966 Galaxie Convertible, an absolutely massive car. The 1965 Galaxie was an all-new design, featuring vertically stacked dual headlights. The cars were taller and bulkier than the previous year’s. The new top-of-the-line designation was the Galaxie 500 LTD and Galaxie 500 XL. The LTD and the XL trim package were accessory upgrades from the base Galaxie model. Engine choices were the same as 1964, except for an all-new 240 cu in (3.9 L) six-cylinder engine replacing the 1950s-era 223 “Mileage-Maker” six and the 352 was now equipped with dual exhausts and a four-barrel carburettor. Suspension on the 1965 models was redesigned. Replacing the former leaf-spring rear suspension was a new three-link system, with coil springs. Interiors featured a new instrument panel, as well as two-way key vehicle access: the introduction of two keys was for valet parking, where the rounded head key would only open the trunk or locked glove compartment, while the squared head key would only unlock the doors and the ignition. A new model was introduced for 1966; the Galaxie 500 7 Litre, fitted with a new engine, the 345 hp 428 cu in (7.0 L) Thunderbird V8. This engine was also available on the Ford Thunderbird and the Mercury S-55. The police versions received a 360 hp version of the 428 known as the ‘Police Interceptor’ as police cars. The 1966 body style was introduced in Brazil (Ford do Brasil) as a 1967 model; it had the same external dimensions throughout its lifetime until Brazilian production ended in 1983. Safety regulations for 1966 required seat belts front and rear on all new cars sold domestically. The Galaxie 500 would be the #3-selling convertible in the U.S. in 1966, with 27,454 sold; it was beaten by the Mustang (at 72,119, by more than 2:1) and by the Impala at 38,000. A parking brake light on the dashboard and an AM/FM radio was optional. The 1966 LTD dropped the Galaxie name. For 1967, the 7 Litre model no longer carried the Galaxie name; it was to be the last year of it being separately identified. That identification was mainly trim such as horn ring and dashboard markings as well as the “Q” in the Vehicle Identification Number. The 7 Litre for 1967 was a trim and performance option on the Ford XL, which was now a separate model as well. Little else changed, except for trim and the styling; the same engines were available, from the 240 cu. inch six-cylinder to the 428 cu. inch V8. Modifications to the styling included adding a major bend in the centre of the grille and making the model less “boxy” than the 1966 model. An 8-track tape cartridge player became an option. Back-up lights were standard. For 1967 all Fords featured a large, padded hub in the centre of the plastic steering wheel, along with an energy-absorbing steering column (introduced late into the 1967 model year), padded interior surfaces, recessed controls on the instrument panel, and front outboard shoulder belt anchors. Another safety related change was the introduction of the dual brake master cylinder used on all subsequent Galaxies (and other Ford models). The 1968 model had a new grille with headlights arranged horizontally, although the body was essentially the same car from the windshield back. The ‘long hood, short deck’ style with a more upright roofline and a notchback rear was followed too, as was the new trend for concealed headlights on the XL and LTD. One other change for 1968 was that the base V8 engine increased from 289 to 302 cu in (4.9 L). Standard equipment included courtesy lights, a cigarette lighter, a suspended gas pedal, and padded front seat backs. The 1968 models featured additional safety features, including side marker lights and shoulder belts on cars built after December 1, 1967. The 1967 model’s large steering wheel hub was replaced by a soft “bar” spoke that ran through the diameter of the wheel (and like the 1967 style, was used throughout the Ford Motor Company line). A plastic horn ring was also featured. A new design arrived for 1969.

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Drawing on inspiration from the mid-engined Ford Mustang I concept vehicle, Lee Iacocca ordered development of a new “small car” to vice-president of design at Ford, Eugene Bordinat. Bordinat tasked Ford’s three design studios (Ford, Lincoln-Mercury, and Advanced Design) to create proposals for the new vehicle. The design teams had been given five goals for the design of the Mustang: It would seat four, have bucket seats and a floor mounted shifter, weigh no more than 2,500 pounds (1,100 kg) and be no more than 180 inches (4,572 mm) in length, sell for less than $2,500, and have multiple power, comfort, and luxury options. The Lincoln–Mercury design studio ultimately produced the winning design in the intramural contest, under Project Design Chief Joe Oros and his team of L. David Ash, Gale Halderman, and John Foster. Development of the Mustang was completed in a record 18 months from September 1962 to March 1964. and Iacocca himself championed the project as Ford Division general manager. The styling is often credited to one person, and that is not accurate, as this was very much a team effort, it has been reported by those involved. To decrease developmental costs, the Mustang used chassis, suspension, and drivetrain components derived from the Ford Falcon and Fairlane. It used a unitised platform-type frame from the 1964 Falcon, and welded box-section side rails, including welded crossmembers. Although hardtop Mustangs accounted for the highest sales, durability problems with the new frame led to the engineering of a convertible first, which ensured adequate stiffness. Overall length of the Mustang and Falcon was identical, although the Mustang’s wheelbase was slightly shorter. With an overall width of 68.2 in (1,732 mm), it was 2.4 in (61 mm) narrower, yet the wheel track was nearly identical. Shipping weight, approximately 2,570 lb (1,166 kg) with the straight six-cylinder engine, was also similar to the Falcon. A fully equipped V8 model weighed approximately 3,000 lb (1,361 kg). Although most of the mechanical parts were from the Falcon, the Mustang’s body was completely different; sporting a shorter wheelbase, wider track, lower seating position and lower overall height. An industry first, the “torque box” was an innovative structural system that greatly stiffened the Mustang’s construction and helped contribute to better handling. The car was launched in 17th April 1964, as a hardtop and a convertible, with the fastback version following in August. It was an instant sensation, with demand massively exceeding supply. Since it was introduced four months before the normal start of the 1965 production year and manufactured alongside 1964 Ford Falcons and 1964 Mercury Comets, the earliest Mustangs are widely referred to as the 1964½ model. Nevertheless, all “1964½” cars were given 1965 U.S. standard VINs at the time of production, and – with limited exception to the earliest of promotional materials – were marketed by Ford as 1965 models. The low-end model hardtop used a “U-code” 170 cu in (2.8 litre) straight-6 engine borrowed from the Falcon, as well as a three-speed manual transmission and retailed for US$2,368. Standard equipment for the early 1965 Mustangs included black front seat belts, a glove box light, and a padded dash board. Production began in March 1964 and official introduction following on April 17 at the 1964 World’s Fair. V8 models got a badge on the front fender that spelled out the engine’s cubic inch displacement (“260” or “289”) over a wide “V.” This emblem was identical to the one on the 1964 Fairlane. Several changes to the Mustang occurred at the start of the “normal” 1965 model year in August 1964, about four months after its introduction. These cars are known as “late 65’s”. The engine lineup was changed, with a 200 cu in (3.3 litre) “T-code” engine that produced 120 hp. Production of the Fairlane’s “F-code” 260 cu in (4.3 litre) engine ceased when the 1964 model year ended. It was replaced with a new 200 hp “C-code” 289 cu in (4.7 litre) engine with a two-barrel carburettor as the base V8. An “A-code” 225 hp four-barrel carburettor version was next in line, followed by the unchanged “Hi-Po” “K-code” 271 hp 289. The DC electrical generator was replaced by a new AC alternator on all Fords (a way to distinguish a 1964 from a 1965 is to see if the alternator light on the dash says “GEN” or “ALT”). The Mustang GT version was introduced as the “GT Equipment Package” and included a V8 engine (most often the 225 hp 289), grille-mounted fog lamps, rocker panel stripes, and disc brakes. In the interior the GT option added a different instrument panel that included a speedometer, fuel gauge, temp. gauge, oil pressure gauge and ammeter in five round dials (the gauges were not marked with numbers, however.) A four-barrel carburettor engine was now available with any body style. Additionally, reverse lights were an option added to the car from August 1964 production. In 1965, the Shelby Mustang was born, it was available only in newly introduced fastback body version with its swept-back rear glass and distinctive ventilation louvres. The standard interior features of the 1965 Mustang included adjustable driver and passenger bucket seats, an AM radio, and a floor mounted shifter in a variety of colour options. Ford added additional interior options during the 1965 model year. The Interior Decor Group was popularly known as “Pony Interior” due to the addition of embossed running ponies on the seat fronts, and also included integral armrests, woodgrain appliqué accents, and a round gauge cluster that would replace the standard Falcon instrumentation. Also available were sun visors, a (mechanical) remote-operated mirror, a floor console, and a bench seat. Ford later offered an under-dash air-conditioning unit, and discontinued the vinyl with cloth insert seat option, offered only in early 1965 models. One option designed strictly for fun was the Rally-Pac. Introduced in 1963 after Ford’s success at that year’s Monte Carlo Rally and available on other Ford and Mercury compacts and intermediates, the Rally-Pac was a combination clock and tachometer mounted to the steering column. It was available as a factory ordered item for US$69.30. Installed by a dealer, the Rally-Pac cost US$75.95. A 14″ rim option was available for Rally-pac and GT350R vehicles widening front and rear track to 57.5″. Reproductions are presently available from any number of Mustang restoration parts sources. A compass, rear seat belts, A/C, and back-up lights were also optional. The 1966 Mustang debuted with moderate trim changes including a new grille, side ornamentation, wheel covers and filler cap. Ford’s new C-4 “cruise-o-matic” three-speed auto transmission became available for the 225 hp V8. The 289 “HiPo” K-code engine was also offered with a c4 transmission, but it had stronger internals and can be identified by the outer casing of the servo which is marked with a ‘C’. The long duration solid-lifter camshaft that allowed the high revving 289 to make the horsepower it was known for, was not friendly for a low stall speed automatic torque converter. The “HiPo” could be spotted very easily by the 1-inch-thick vibration damper, (as compared to 1/2 inch on the 225-hp version) and the absence of a vacuum advance unit on the dual point distributor. With the valve covers off, there is a large letter “K” stamped between the valve springs, along with screw in studs (vs. a pressed in stud for other 289s) for the adjustable rocker arms. A large number of new paint and interior colour options, an AM/eight-track sound system, and one of the first AM/FM mono automobile radios were also offered. It also removed the Falcon instrument cluster; the previously optional features, including the round gauges and padded sun visors, became standard equipment. The Mustang would be the best-selling convertible in 1966, with 72,119 sold, beating the number two Impala by almost 2:1. The 1965 and 1966 Mustangs are differentiated by variations in the exterior, despite similar design. These variations include the emblem on the quarter-panels behind the doors. From August 1964 production, the emblem was a single vertical piece of chrome, while for 1966 models the emblem was smaller in height and had three horizontal bars extending from the design, resembling an “E”. The front intake grilles and ornaments were also different. The 1965 front grille used a “honeycomb” pattern, while the 1966 version was a “slotted” style. While both model years used the “Horse and Corral” emblem on the grille, the 1965 had four bars extending from each side of the corral, while on the 1966, these bars were removed. The 1966 model year saw introduction of ‘High Country Special’ limited edition, 333 of them were sold in Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska. When Ford wanted to introduce the Mustang in Germany, they discovered that Krupp company had already registered the name for a truck. The German company offered to sell the rights for US$10,000. Ford refused and removed Mustang badges from exported units, instead naming the cars as T-5 (a pre-production Mustang project name) for the German market until 1979 when Krupp copyrights expired. In 1965, Harry Ferguson Research purchased 3 Mustang notchbacks and converted them to 4×4 in an attempt to sell potential clients on their FF AWD system. A similar system was used in the Ferguson P99 Formula One car, and would go on to be featured in the Jensen FF, widely considered the first AWD passenger car. As in the Jensen FF, the AWD Mustangs also featured an ABS braking system, long before such a feature was commonplace. Ford Australia organised the importation and conversion of 1966 Mustang to right-hand-drive for the Australian market. This coincided with the launch of new XR Falcon for 1966, which was marketed as “Mustang-bred Falcon”. To set the official conversion apart from the cottage industry, the RHD Mustangs were called “Ford Australia Delivered Mustang” and had compliance plates similar to XR Falcon. About 209 were imported to Australia with 48 units were converted in 1965 while the further 161 were done in 1966. The 1967 model year Mustang was the first redesign of the original model. Ford’s designers began drawing up a larger version even as the original was achieving sales success, and while “Iacocca later complained about the Mustang’s growth, he did oversee the redesign for 1967 .” The major mechanical feature was to allow the installation of a big-block V8 engine. The overall size, interior and cargo space were increased. Exterior trim changes included concave taillights, side scoop (1967 model) and chrome (1968 model) side ornamentation, square rear-view mirrors, and usual yearly wheel and gas cap changes. The high-performance 289 option was placed behind the newer 335 hp 6.4 litre FE engine from the Ford Thunderbird, which was equipped with a four-barrel carburettor. During the mid-1968 model year, a drag racer for the street could be ordered with the optional 428 cu in (7.0 litre) Cobra Jet engine which was officially rated at 335 hp. All of these Mustangs were issued R codes on their VIN’s. The 1967 Deluxe Interior was revised, discontinuing the embossed running horse motif on the seat backs (the source for the “pony interior” nickname) in favour of a new deluxe interior package, which included special colour options, brushed aluminium (from August 1966 production) or woodgrain dash trim, seat buttons, and special door panels. The hardtop also included upholstered quarter trim panels, a carryover from the 1965-66 deluxe interior. The 1967 hardtop also had the chrome quarter trim caps, carried over from 1965-66, but these were painted to match the interior in 1968 models. The 1967 deluxe interior included stainless steel-trimmed seat back shells, similar to those in the Thunderbird. These were dropped at the end of the 1967 model year, and were not included in the woodgrain-trimmed 1968 interior. The deluxe steering wheel, which had been included in the deluxe interior for the 1965-66, became optional, and could also be ordered with the standard interior. The 1968 models that were produced from January 1968 were also the first model year to incorporate three-point lap and shoulder belts (which had previously been optional, in 1967-68 models) as opposed to the standard lap belts. The air-conditioning option was fully integrated into the dash, the speakers and stereo were upgraded, and unique center and overhead consoles were options. The fastback model offered the option of a rear fold-down seat, and the convertible was available with folding glass windows. Gone was the Rally-Pac, since the new instrument cluster had provisions for an optional tachometer and clock. Its size and shape also precluded the installation of the accessory atop the steering column. The convenience group with four warning lights for low fuel, seat belt reminder, parking brake not released, and door ajar were added to the instrument panel, or, if one ordered the optional console and A/C, the lights were mounted on the console. Changes for the 1968 model increased safety with a two-spoke energy-absorbing steering wheel, along with newly introduced shoulder belts. Other changes included front and rear side markers, “FORD” lettering removed from hood, rearview mirror moved from frame to windscreen, a 302 cu in (4.9 litre) V8 engine was now available, and C-Stripe graphics were added. The California Special Mustang, or GT/CS, was visually based on the Shelby model and was only sold in Western states. Its sister, the ‘High Country Special’, was sold in Denver, Colorado. While the GT/CS was only available as a coupe, the ‘High Country Special’ model was available in fastback and convertible configurations during the 1966 and 1967 model years, and as a coupe for 1968. The 1968 Ford Mustang GT Fastback reached iconic status after it was featured in the 1968 film Bullitt, starring Steve McQueen. In the film, McQueen drove a modified 1968 Mustang GT 2+2 Fastback chasing a Dodge Charger through the streets of San Francisco. There were further annual updates until the model’s replacement in 1973, but with each the car got steadily bigger and less overtly sporty. Sales reduced, too, suggesting that Ford were losing their way. Mustang II did not fix that, of course, but gradually, the legendary nameplate has returned to delivering the same sort of promise as those early and much loved cars were able to do. This example dates from the 1967 model year.

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Parked next to it was an example of the latest generation, the first to be sold in the UK in right hand drive form, and which has proved popular, perhaps beating Ford’s sales expectations of the car, with V8 models outselling the Ecoboost four cylinder model for fairly understandable reasons.

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HUMMER

Another massive machine, this Hummer H1 was parked in the spot that was later claimed by the Foden. The Hummer H1 is a four-wheel-drive utility vehicle based on the M998 Humvee, which was created by AM General. The vehicle was produced from 1992 through 2006, and was the first of what became the Hummer line. Originally designed strictly for military use, the off-road vehicle was released to the civilian market due to market demand. It was initially known as the “Hummer”; however, under a 1999 deal, GM bought marketing rights to the Hummer name and called the vehicle the Hummer H1. At the time, GM began marketing the Hummer H2 that was also assembled by AM General on a modified GMC 2500HD chassis. AM General continued to build the H1 and Humvee in its Mishawaka, Indiana facility. GM stopped marketing the H1 in 2006 model year, but AM General continued production of the military Humvee versions. Originally released in the civilian market March 14, 1992, the Hummer H1 became known from photographs published during Operation Desert Storm and the enthusiastic campaign from actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. AM General announced that 2006 would be the last model year for the Hummer H1, with production winding down in June 2006 due to a new emission law for diesel engine vehicles, which took effect in 2007. The final model year of 2006 had the most powerful engine and improved fuel efficiency—about 10 mpg‑US 12 mpg‑imp) . The Hummer H1 was available in three major variants: a convertible-like soft top, a four-door hard top Sport Utility Truck and an “Alpha Wagon” body version. Less known variants were a two-door pickup truck and a four-door slantback, which shares the same body style of the Humvee employed by the U.S. Military. The convertible/soft top and the station SUV versions were the last types available to individual consumers. Five engine types and three automatic transmission types can be found in Hummer H1s. The common engine/automatic transmission combinations are: 6.2 L GM Diesel V8/GM TH400/3L80 3-speed; 6.5 L GM Diesel V8/GM 4L80-E 4-speed; 5.7 L (350 ci) L05 gasoline V8 TBI/GM 4L80-E 4-speed; 6.5 L turbo GM Diesel V8/GM 4L80-E 4-speed; 6.6 L turbo Duramax LLY V8 turbo Diesel/Allison 1000 5-speed (model year 2006). The Hummer H1 shares some common driveline parts with the HMMWV. These include brakes, axles, frame and major body panels (hood, tailgate and quarter panels) are shared between the HMMWV and Hummer H1. All H1s and HMMWVs were produced on the same assembly line; of which civilian H1s were then painted and finished in a separate building opposite the parking lot. The H1 models are inherently stable due to their wide track. They can ford 30 inches (76 cm) of water and climb a 22-inch (56 cm) step. Their stock ground clearance of 16 inches (41 cm) is made possible by tucking driveline components inside a channel in the wide central space between the left and right seats. They have high approach/departure angles of 72/37.5 degrees. Most H1s are equipped with a Central Tire Inflation System (CTIS), which enables the driver to increase or decrease the tire air pressure at the push of a button, since lower tire pressures are more suited for off-road, and higher tire pressures are desirable on-road. Hummer H1s have other unusual features, such as inboard brakes and portal gears that allow the drivetrain’s half shafts a higher placement, for greater ground clearance. The radiator is up high, sloping over the engine on a forward-hinged hood. The air intake is high-mount, enabling the H1 to ford waist-level water. Rather than using simple run-flat tire, magnesium-aluminum alloy or rubber inserts are an optional feature for runflat ability. Options included leather seats, a winch kit, and running boards. The “Alpha” was an extensively re-engineered H1 that was equipped with GM’s Duramax Diesel and 5-speed Allison transmission. The previous turbo-diesel engine suffered from sluggish sales; lack of power was one of the reasons for customer resistance. In 2002, AM General CEO Jim Armour took the idea of repowering the H1 to Bob Lutz and the GM Luxury Vehicle committee. GM soon approved the use of their Duramax/Allison powertrain for the H1. This would support the continuation of the H1; it would also represent an updating in terms of power, torque, refinement and the ability to meet 2004 heavy duty EPA emissions requirements. The update program commenced in late 2002 with production launch slated to be fall of 2004. The engineering team chose the engine variant out of the GMT560 truck (the C4500) because it packaged better into the H1 engine bay; however, 23 engine component changes were required and the team had to do a 2.0 in (51 mm) body lift to accommodate the taller engine and its turbo housing (a prior 0.5 in (13 mm) lift had been done for MY96 to accommodate the turbo on the 6.5L engine). The 8th digit of the VIN is 3, setting this version of the 6.6L Duramax apart from the versions used in pickup trucks. The GMT560 engine calibration was used with minimal modification; engine output was 300 hp and 520 lb/ft (705 Nm) of torque. The Duramax engine was equipped with cooled exhaust gas recirculation and an internal engine oil cooler, thus, requiring a 40 percent heat rejection increase to engine coolant. Because space was limited between the air-lift brackets that protrude from the hood, the fan system was modified by putting it directly under the coolpack and driving it through a special gearbox directly off the crankshaft damper pulley. Several other cooling system modifications were required to assist with cold starting from −30 °F (−34 °C). Other major modifications included the use of special high-strength steel in the chassis frame, a more powerful steering gear; quieter axle differentials, redesign of the geared hubs to use quieter helical gears, new induction, exhaust and electrical power systems; and re-engineering of the fuel supply and filtration system. The Duramax engine delivered more torque at lower engine speeds than the 6.5L, combined with a lower gearing ratio (about 44.5 to 1 in low lock) made the vehicle more powerful. Other changes included centralised tyre inflation and a new interior. Production launch was early in 2005, and continued until production ceased in mid-2006. All vehicles built during this time are classified as model year 2006. The program was cancelled May 12, 2006 because GM decided to withdraw technical and financial support for future engineering and recertification.

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LOTUS

At the Frankfurt 2011 Show, the 2012 version of the Exige S was announced. It features a supercharged 3.5 litre V6 engine (from the Evora S) rated at 345 hp. In 2013, a roadster version was introduced with only minor changes to the design for the removable top. The engine and performance were virtually unchanged from the coupe. To accommodate the V6 engine, the new model is approximately 25 cm (9.8 inches) longer and 5 cm (2.0 in) wider (exterior bodywise) than the model with the inline-four engine, being 4,052 mm (159.5 inches) long, 1,802 mm (70.9 in) wide (not counting the mirrors) and 1,153 mm (45.4 in) tall. The drag coefficient is 0.433. Since that time there have been a bewildering array of different versions and you need to be a real marque expert to tell them all apart. The policy has worked, though, as sales have remained steady whilst Lotus try to amass the finances to develop any all new models. The Exige V6 Cup is a track oriented version of the Exige S while the Exige CupR is the track-only version of Exige V6 Cup. The Exige V6 Cup is offered for sale in the United States as a track only car. If purchased, US Lotus Dealers will only provide a bill of sale instead of a title. The vehicles were unveiled at the 2013 Autosport International motor show. Limited to 50 examples, the Lotus Exige 360 Cup was revealed on 14 August 2015. The car is powered by a 3.5-liter supercharged Toyota V6 delivering 355 hp. The Lotus Exige Sport 380 is a track focused and more powerful version of the Lotus Exige lineup. It was unveiled on 23 November 2016. Lotus’ CEO, Jean-Marc Gales describes it as, “The Exige Sport 380 is so good, that it is no longer the best in class, it’s now in a class of its own”, and it fulfills this statement by taking on some of the powerful and expensive super cars both on the track and the streets. The 3.5-litre, super-charged V6 engine is now uprated and produces 375 hp and 410 Nm (302 lb/ft) of torque with a 6500 rpm red line achieved by revised supercharger and ECU. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and has a top speed of 178 mph (286 km/h). The interior is also stripped out and features necessary driver aids. The Exige Sport 380 weighs 1,076 kg (2,372 lb), thanks to the extensive use of carbon fibre on the exterior as well as the interior, the application of polycarbonate windows instead of traditional glass windows and a newly designed rear transom panel which features two rear lights instead of four.The Lotus Exige Cup 380 is a more hardcore variant of the Exige Sport 380. Performance of the car remains the same as the Sport 380 but it features more aero components and a larger rear wing to produce more downforce at high speeds. The Exige Cup 380 generates 200 kg (441 lb) of downforce at its maximum speed of 175 mph (282 km/h); the top speed is reduced due to excess downforce and more drag. It features a more stripped out interior in order to save weight and other light weight carbon fiber components, Lotus states a lowest possible dry weight of only 1,057 kg (2,330 lb). On 9 November 2017, Lotus unveiled the most powerful version of the Exige to date called the Exige Cup 430, producing 430 PS (424 hp) and using the Evora GT430’s powertrain, modified to fit in the smaller Exige. The car body can produce 220 kg (485 lb) of downforce. The Cup 430 is 19 kg (42 lb) lighter than the Sport 380 due to the use of carbon fibre in body panels and interior and a titanium exhaust. The gearbox allows quicker gearshifts than the previous model. The Cup 430 is not offered with an automatic gearbox. The Lotus Exige Cup 430 is capable of covering the Hethel circuit in 1 minute 24.8 seconds – the fastest production car to lap the circuit – 1.2 seconds faster than the road going Lotus 3-Eleven.

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A third Series Elise was debuted in 2010 and the car has undergone almost constant enhancements ever since, with power outputs boosted considerably on the way. Revealed in November 2015, the Lotus Elise Sport and Sport 220 joined the two-seater sports car’s line-up, with the two models replacing the outgoing Elise and Elise S. The models mark a return for the ‘Sport’ name to a Lotus, with the badge last appearing on the Lotus Esprit. The two cars get a weight reduction of 10kg, with the Elise Sport now down to 866kg and the Sport 220 now 914kg. The reduced weight doesn’t improve performance but it does bring a marginal boost in claimed economy, with the Sport now managing 45.0mpg the Sport 220 improving to 37.5mpg. The changes are marginal enough that the CO2 emissions remain unchanged. Both cars also come with lightweight sports seats, which are available with optional tartan trim that harks back to the 1970s Esprit S1. Other visual upgrades and options include lightweight silver or black cast wheels, which are 16 inch at the front and 17 inch at the rear. Optional lightweight wheels can shave another 5kg off the car’s weight. A black rear diffuser is standard, along with a choice of 10 different colours. Other options include a hard roof, air conditioning, cruise control and an upgraded Clarion stereo system. The engines remained unchanged. The Sport comes with a 1.6-litre petrol engine with 134 bhp and 160 Nm (118 lb/ft) of torque. It can go 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds, and has a top speed of 127mph. The Sport 220’s 1.8-litre engine can develop 217 bhp (220 PS) and 250 Nm (184 lb/ft) of torque. It can go 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds and has a 145mph of top speed. Both come with a six-speed manual transmission. The pricing has also been trimmed, with the Elise Sport model starting at £29,900 and the Elise Sport 220 priced at £36,500. Both cars will go on sale from December 2015 in Europe and the rest of the world from January 2016. At the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, Lotus revealed the high performance version of the Elise called the Cup 250. The Cup 250 is a more track focused and hardcore version of the standard Elise. It has a 1.8 litre supercharged Toyota 2ZR-FE Inline-4 engine with a 6-speed Toyota EC60 manual gearbox with sport ratios, developing 243 bhp at 7200 rpm, giving a 0-60 mph time of 3.9 seconds and a Top speed of 154 mph. In October 2017, Lotus unveiled a hardcore version of the Elise called the Elise Cup 260. It is inspired by the two hardcore variants of the Evora and Exige line up, the Sport 380 and the GT430 respectively. It features the double taillight units and rear wing from the Exige Sport 380 and the Lotus 3-Eleven respectively. Power has also been uprated and is now 250 hp thanks to a revised supercharger. Other changes include increased top speed, acceleration, low weight and high downforce due to added aero elements. Performance was marginally improved over the 220 version. In March 2017, Lotus announced the special edition ‘Sprint’ models of the Elise. For the Elise Sprint, Lotus used several weight-saving techniques to cut the car’s weight down to 798 kg (1,759 lb). To achieve the 40 kg (88 lb) weight saving, some body parts are made in carbon, as well as the seats. The backlight glass is made of polycarbonate, and the lightweight battery is a Lithium-ion model. Wheels are the usual size, but forged instead of cast alloy. The Sprint can be had with either a 1.6-litre naturally aspirated engine, or a 1.8-litre supercharged engine, available for the Sprint 220 version. The former has a 0–60 mph of 5.9 seconds, while the Sprint 220 can accelerate from 0–60 mph in 4.1 seconds. Dampers are uprated, as on the Elise Cup models. On 9 February 2021, Lotus unveiled two final editions line-up models of Elise on online platforms. Opening the range is the Elise Sport 240 Final Edition, which sees the existing Sport 220’s 1.8-litre supercharged four-cylinder engine uprated to develop 240 bhp and 244 Nm (180 lb/ft), permitting a zero to 100km/h time of 4.5 seconds. When fully specified with weight-saving options – namely carbon-fibre sill and engine covers, a lithium-ion starter battery and a polycarbonate rear window – the Sport 240 is the lightest car on offer, tipping the scales in at just 898kg. A set of 10-spoke forged alloy wheels fill the arches, measuring 16 inches in diameter up front and 17 inches at the rear, wrapped in Yokohama Y105 tyres. Lotus claims the new wheels are 0.5kg lighter than the examples fitted to the outgoing Sport 220. The Elise Cup 250 Final Edition features a variant of the Sport 240’s 1.8-litre four-cylinder, now tuned to produce 245 bhp and 244 Nm (180 lb/ft). Lotus claims a 4.3-second 0-100km/h sprint time. This model gets an optimised aerodynamic package allowing for 155kg of downforce at its top speed of 248km/h, along with 10-spoke M Sport forged alloy wheels, Yokohama A052 tyres, Bilstein dampers and adjustable anti-roll bars. A lightweight lithium-ion battery and polycarbonate rear window are also fitted as standard for increased weight saving, and, in top spec layout, the car weighs 931kg. The Elise story comes to an end later this year when production of the model will cease after 25 years.

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MASERATI

Sole Maserati here was my recently acquired Ghibli Hybrid. My arrival timing was such that it ended up parked in the area at the end of the site, but even so, every time I could see it, there seemed to be people wanting a look and taking pictures!

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MERCEDES-BENZ

Now quite collectible are early versions of the G Wagen. The G-class was developed as a military vehicle from a suggestion by the Shah of Iran (at the time a significant Mercedes shareholder) to Mercedes and offered as a civilian version in 1979. In this role it is sometimes referred to as the “Wolf”. The Peugeot P4 was a variant made under licence in France with a Peugeot engine. The first military in the world to use it was the Argentine Army (Ejército Argentino) beginning in 1981 with the military model 461. The development of the G-Class started in 1972 with a cooperative agreement between Daimler-Benz and Steyr-Daimler-Puch in Graz, Austria. Mercedes-Benz engineers in Stuttgart were in charge of design and testing, while the team in Graz developed the production plans. The first wooden model was presented to Daimler-Benz management in 1973, with the first drivable prototype beginning various testing including German coalfields, the Sahara Desert, and the Arctic Circle in 1974. Construction commenced on a new production facility in Graz, where the new cross-country vehicle would be assembled nearly entirely by hand in 1975, with production of the “G Model” beginning in Graz in 1979. In 1980, the Vatican took delivery of a specially made G-Wagen outfitted with a clear thermoplastic top which served as the Popemobile. The “Papa G” later took up permanent residence at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany. W460 was introduced at a press event held at the off-road proving ground in Toulon, France. W460 went on sale in September 1979 with three engine choices and five body variants. Over the decade, the engine and transmission choices were expanded or updated along with more and more optional extra cost creature comforts (air conditioning, automatic transmission, power windows, etc.). G-Wagen gained the global fame in 1980 when Mercedes-Benz built a Popemobile based on 230 G cabriolet during the first visit of Pope John Paul II in Germany. Mercedes-Benz never exported G-Wagen officially to the United States because it was considered more of utilitarian vehicle and didn’t fit the American perception of what Mercedes-Benz was. During the 1980s, the grey import specialists brought W460 to the United States and modified them to meet the US regulations. In 1988, the new federal law, Motor Vehicle Safety Compliance Act, closed the loopholes and tightened up the regulations for grey imports, making it more difficult and more expensive for the registered importers to federalise W460 in a very small number. The other issue was severely underpowered engines in 230 GE, 280 GE, and 300 GD might not appeal to the Americans as it was the case with Mercedes-Benz 380 SEL in the early 1980s. 200 GE was built specifically for Italian markets and other markets where the heavy tax penalty was incurred for engines larger than 2 litres. 300 GD was the most popular model while 280 GE the most powerful. Despite the availability of turbocharged diesel engine in other Mercedes-Benz vehicles, it was never fitted to G-Wagen W460. The rarest W460 variants were 230 GE 2.6 Brabus (1989–?), 280 GE AMG (specific years not given), and 560 GE (1993). Brabus increased the engine displacement of 2.3-litre four-cylinder inline engine to 2.6 litres, increasing the power to 153 bhp. AMG modified the 2.8-litre six-cylinder inline petrol engine for more power, 180 bhp. No further production information about price and number of units built were established. Only two units of 560 GE were built in 1993 as part of feasibility study that resulted in a limited series of W463 500 GE for 1993–1994 and W463 G 500 from 1998 on. The first major refinements were introduced in 1981, including an automatic transmission, air conditioning, an auxiliary fuel tank, protective headlamp grilles and a cable winch. Fuel injection became available in 1982, when the 230 GE was introduced in Turin, along with more comfortable and supportive front seats, auxiliary heating, wider tires and fender flares. For 1985, differential locks, central door locking and a tachometer became standard and by 1986 over 50,000 G Models had been produced. The G-Wagen was facelifted in 1990. In 1989, for the 10th anniversary of the G Model, a new model variant with permanent 4-wheel drive, a wood-trimmed interior and optional Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) debuted at the Frankfurt International Motor Show. Production began the following April. For 1992, a new sub-series for professional users began production. The civilian model began to offer cruise control, a stainless-steel spare-tyre cover, running boards and Burl Walnut wood interior trim. The same year, the 100,000th G Model was built in Graz. In 1994, the model line was officially renamed the G-Class. Ventilated front disc brakes and a driver’s air bag became standard. In 1996 the automatic transmission became an electronically controlled 5-speed unit. Headlamp washers, cruise control and a front passenger’s air bag were added. In 1998, the range-topping G 500 with a 296 hp V 8 was introduced for series production. For 1999 a limited run of V 8 powered “G 500 Classic” special editions marked the model’s 20th anniversary. A multi-function steering wheel was added to all models. Later in the year, the new G 55 AMG debuts as the most powerful G-Class yet, with 354 hp. The U.S. market launch of the G-Class took place in 2001. New alloy wheels, a chrome grille and body-colour bumpers plus a more luxurious cabin were introduced. New dynamic control systems included the Electronic Stability Program (ESP), Brake Assist and the 4 wheel Electronic Traction System (4 ETS). The G 55 AMG was upgraded in 2004 with a supercharged V 8 engine developing 476 hp. In Siberia in 2006, a documentary filmmaker was the first foreigner to reach the world’s coldest region with a passenger vehicle in winter, driving a stock G 500 nearly 19,000 km without a single breakdown, in temperatures as frigid as −63˚F/-53 °C. A new version was expected for 2007, but the new GL-Class did not replace the G-Wagen, and it will continue to be hand-built in Graz, Austria at an annual production of 4,000 to 6,000 units. In February 2009, Magna Steyr, an operating unit of Magna International, announced that it signed an agreement with Daimler AG to extend the production of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class at Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria until 2015. Besides the production, the further development of the G-Class by Daimler’s subsidiary Mercedes-Benz Consult Graz since 1992. There were further changes, taking the G Wagen ever further up-market until production finally ceased in 2017 when a brand new version was unveiled.

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MITSUBISHI

This is an Evo V. These were produced for just one year, from January 1998 to January 1999 and represented a comprehensive reworking of the Evo IV, as opposed to being a brand new model. Many aspects of the car were changed such as: The interior was upgraded in the GSR version with a better class of Recaro seats; the body kit had flared arches at the front and rear and a new aluminium rear spoiler replaced the IV FRP version and gave an adjustable angle of attack to alter rear downforce. (In process of doing so, the Evolution V onwards was no longer considered “compact” according to Japanese dimension regulations, requiring Japanese owners to pay an increased annual tax as the car was now 70 mm (2.8 in) wider than regulated limit of 1,700 mm (66.9 in)); the track was widened by 10 mm (0.4 in), the wheel offset changed from ET45 to ET38 along with the wheel diameter which rose from 16 in to 17 in to accommodate Brembo brakes; in addition the brake master cylinder bore increased by 0.3 mm (0.01 in); the engine was strengthened in a few areas and the cam duration was increased. The pistons were lighter with a smaller skirt area. 510 cc injectors were replaced with 560 cc injectors for better engine reliability due to more electrical “headroom” and the ECU was changed to include a flash ROM, allowing more boost pressure to the same TD05-HR as the Mitsubishi Evolution IV. Furthermore, the turbocharger was again improved. Torque was increased to 373 Nm (275 lb/ft) at 3,000 rpm. Power officially stayed the same, at 280 PS (276 bhp), though some claim horsepower was actually somewhat higher. There were tow versions: RS – “rally sport” Close-ratio 5-speed, minimal interior, rally suspension, 1.5 Way LSD, (Shortened close-ratio 5-speed transmission, Auto Air Conditioner, Enkei Wheels, Recaro bucket seat, Brembo brakes, power window are available as option); and GSR – 5-speed, gauge pack, AYC (Active Yaw Control), Anti-Lock Braking System, Recaro front bucket and rear seat, auto air-conditioner, double-din audio, power window, Brembo brakes.

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NISSAN

The very first generation of the 240SX can be divided into two distinct versions, both having the sporting advantage of rear wheel drive standard. Each of these variants came in two distinct body styles: hatchback, which was offered in both base and SE trim, LE trim, and coupe, which was offered in base, XE, LE and SE. Both styles shared the same front bodywork as the Japanese-market Nissan 180SX, featuring the sloping front with pop-up headlights. This bodywork distinguishes the coupe model from its Japanese-market counterpart, the Silvia, which featured fixed headlights. Both styles in all markets share the same chassis, and with few exceptions, most components and features are identical. The 240SX is a popular car in the sport of drifting due to its long wheelbase, low cost, ample power, light weight, well balanced chassis and abundant after-market support. 1989 and 1990 models are powered by a naturally aspirated 140 bhp, 152 lb/ft (206 Nm) 2,389 cc SOHC KA24E engine with 3 valves per cylinder (instead of the turbo-charged and intercooled 1.8-litre DOHC CA18DET offered in Japan and Europe in the 180SX and Silvia). Four-wheel disc brakes were standard, with antilock brakes available as an option on the SE. Both models were offered with either a 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual transmission. “Coupes” offered a Heads-up display (HUD) with a digital speedometer as part of the optional Power Convenience Group. The 240SX received some updates in 1991. The matte silver, teardrop wheels were replaced by polished aluminium 7-spoke wheels that had better brake cooling properties but more drag. The nose was smoothed out by getting rid of the non-functional slots and gave back the aerodynamic efficiencies lost by the wheels. This gave the car an overhaul that included a minor update of the exterior and a new cylinder head. A new “LE” hatchback trim package was added that included leather interior. The SOHC KA24E was replaced by the DOHC KA24DE, now with 4 valves per cylinder, rated at 155 bhp at 5,600 rpm and 160 lb/ft (217 Nm) at 4,400 rpm of torque. An optional sports package including ABS, a limited slip differential, and Nissan’s HICAS four wheel steering was now available on hatchback models. The S13 was known for sharp steering and handling (thanks to front MacPherson struts and a rear multilink suspension) and relatively light weight (2700 lb) but was regarded in the automotive press as being underpowered. The engine, while durable and relatively torquey, was a heavy iron-block truck unit that produced meagre power for its relatively large size. It was only modestly improved by the change to the DOHC version in 1991. Furthermore, despite the modest power output, relatively low vehicle weight, and good aerodynamics, gas mileage was mediocre. These engines are the primary difference between the North American 240SX and the world-market Silvia/180SX/200SX. The KA24DE did not come turbocharged while the SR20DET did. The U.S. version was regarded as a highly capable sports car that only needed a better engine. Other differences include a standard limited slip differential on overseas and Canadian models, available digital climate control in Japan, and manual seat belts standard in Japan and Canada vs. automatic restraint seatbelts in America. In 1992, a convertible was added to the lineup and was exclusive to the North American market. These vehicles began life in Japan as coupes and were later modified in the California facilities of American Specialty Cars (ASC). For the 1994 model year, the only available 240SX was a Special Edition convertible equipped with an automatic transmission. The US 240SX convertible differed from the Japanese market version, in that the Japanese market model had a power top cover boot, whereas the US market model had manually installed boot cover once the top is down. It was also produced in Japan, rather than by ASC. A replacement model was launched in the autumn of 1994.

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PEUGEOT

Before the 205, Peugeot was considered the most conservative of France’s “big three” car manufacturers, producing large saloons such as the 504 and 505, although it had entered the modern supermini market in 1973 with the Peugeot 104. The genesis of the 205 lay within Peugeot’s takeover in 1978 of Chrysler’s European divisions Simca and the former Rootes Group, which had the necessary expertise in making small cars including the Simca 1100 in France and Hillman Imp in Britain. It was around this time that Peugeot began to work on the development of a new supermini for the 1980s. It was launched on 24 February 1983, and was launched in right-hand drive form for the UK market in September that year. Shortly after its launch, it was narrowly pipped to the European Car of the Year award by the similar sized Fiat Uno, but ultimately (according to the award organizers) it would enjoy a better image and a longer high market demand than its Italian competitor. It was one of five important small cars to be launched onto the European market within a year of each other: the other four were the Uno, the second generation Ford Fiesta, the original Opel Corsa (sold as the Vauxhall Nova on the British market) and the original Nissan Micra. Its launch also closely followed that of the Austin Metro and Volkswagen Polo Mk2. The styling of the 205 is often thought to be a Pininfarina design, although Gerard Welter claims that it is an in-house design; Pininfarina only styled the Cabriolet. It is often credited as the car that turned Peugeot’s fortunes around. The fully independent suspension used the now standard PSA Peugeot Citroën layout that had debuted in the Peugeot 305 estate. A key ingredient of the success of the 205, it had MacPherson struts at the front and trailing arms with torsion bars at the rear. The rear suspension was very compact, designed to minimise suspension intrusion into the boot, giving a wide flat loadspace, while providing excellent ride and handling. Early 205s used the X petrol engine [n 1] from the older Peugeot 104, although these were later (1987–1988) replaced with the newer XU and TU-series engines, which were of PSA design. Engines ranged in displacement from 954 cc to 1905 cc, in carburettor or fuel injected versions. The diesel models employed the PSA XUD engine, lifted from the Citroën BX which was introduced in September 1982. These engines had a capacity of 1769 cc (XUD7) and 1905 cc (XUD9) and are closely related to the XU5 and XU9 petrol engines in the BX16 and BX19 of the time. The diesel engines were world-beating and so petrol-like that many buyers were won over by petrol car performance combined with diesel economy. For instance, the 205 GRD (1.8 Diesel, 59 bhp, 78 lb/ft (105.8 Nm)) was as fast as, yet smoother than, the 205 GR (1.4 Petrol, 59 bhp, 78 lb/ft (105.8 Nm)), due to the engine developing peak torque at much lower rpm, while using much less fuel. There were various versions intended for commercial use, such as the two-seater XA-series. There was also the “205 Multi”, a tall-bodied special version on XA or XE-basis built by independent coachbuilders like Gruau and Durisotti. Gruau called their XA-based two-seater version the “VU”, while the five-seat XE-based version was called the “VP”. Durisotti began building the 205 Multi in 1986; it was called the “205 Multi New Look”. The 205 was an instant hit, and its styling was echoed in every Peugeot model that was to follow. The exterior styling was never facelifted or significantly altered in its 15-year production run. There was a dashboard redesign for the 1988 model year, and in late 1990 the 205 received new door design and cards, clear front indicators, new ‘smoked’ rear light clusters, single point petrol injection and catalytic converters were introduced, to meet the new 1992 pollution limits. These updates came at a crucial time, as 1990 also saw the arrival of a completely new French competitor, the Renault Clio, while the Rover Metro and Volkswagen Polo were also heavily updated, and Ford had already replaced its Fiesta with a third generation model. Still, the 205 was still widely regarded in the motoring press as the benchmark car in this sector by 1990. At the beginning of 1993, Peugeot launched the 306, which officially replaced the 309; the arrival of this car also diminished the 205’s role (and its sales figures) in the Peugeot range, as had the arrival of the smaller 106 in September 1991 – although the final demise of the 205 was still some years away. The engines were continuously updated, with the new TU engines introduced in 1988. In 1991, the 205 dTurbo was launched with a powerful turbocharged version of the 1,769 cc xud diesel engine. After several years of gradually declining sales, the Peugeot 205 was discontinued in the United Kingdom in 1996. The Peugeot 205 was still offered in the “Sacré Numéro” and “Génération” models until the end of the production in 1998. The last models were GLD 1.8 configuration and were sold in Argentina. Most of the later European versions were only sold in France. Due to the pressure from the market, with buyers wanting a Peugeot supermini in the mould of the 205 again, the company finally built a direct replacement in the 206, which was launched in 1998. 5,278,050 Peugeot 205s have been sold, and a significant percentage of them were still in circulation as of 2009. By 2014, there were still as many as 14,000 on the road in the United Kingdom, compared to the peak high of 374,773 in 1994. With potentially as many 400,000 sales in the UK, it became the best selling car ever sold by Peugeot in the UK – although its success was emulated a few years later by the larger 306 and later by the 206. It also helped boost the popularity of the Peugeot brand there, and was at least a factor in Peugeot’s decision to phase out the Talbot brand in the mid 1980s when launching new models to be built at the former Rootes Group plant near Coventry and the former Simca plant at Poissy.

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As well as the 205 GL, there was also an example of the limited edition 205 Roland Garros. It was in May 1989 that the 1st of these was launched…sharing the name of the Parisian tournament that began just shortly afterwards! 3,550 models of the 3-Door Hatch derived from the XS, with a 1.4 litre 85 bhp engine leather upholstery/specific fabrics, as well as its exterior ornamentation and green paint job, went on the market. Immediate success! The following year, Peugeot launched a second series of 6,000 models beginning in March 90. In 1991, 4,000 models of this special series (including 1,500 convertibles) were offered to customers before the larger production of many thousands that followed.

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PORSCHE

I saw this car pull in, and then very carefully drive all the way round to the entry point to the slopes, and park up very carefully in one of the coveted bay areas. A tall gent got out, followed by his young son, and I did not immediately recognise them. My opening gambit was that I had not realised that 992-generation GT3 cars had yet reached the UK, so I assumed it was very new. Still not twigging from the “Porsche GB” print on the number plate, the driver said that yes, they were now here, and no, this was not his, he had merely borrowed it. I asked him what it was like, and he said “very raw”, much more so than previous generation 911 GT3 cars, and we had quite a discussion for a good few minutes, at the end of which we went out separate ways. And then I realised, I had been talking to Matt Saunders of Autocar magazine. He stayed almost as long as I did, and his son is clearly quite a car enthusiast already as I could see them wandering out, and the son excitedly pointing to various vehicles. Needless to say, the parked-up car attracted lots of interest all afternoon!

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Also here was an example of the more affordable 992 Carrera. The first of these cars hit the streets in early 2019 following a premier at the 2018 Los Angeles Show. A cautious evolution from the 991, though more of it was new than you might initially assume by looking it, the car has sold well, despite the fact that it is rather more expensive (and larger) than its predecessor.

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Designed by Benjamin Dimson in 1986, the 964 featured significant styling revisions over previous 911 models, most prominently the more integrated bumpers. The 964 was considered to be 85% new as compared to its predecessor. The first 964s available in 1989 were all wheel drive equipped “Carrera 4” models; Porsche added the rear wheel drive Carrera 2 variant to the range in 1990. Both variants were available as a coupe, Targa or Cabriolet. The 964 Carrera was the last generation sold with the traditional removable Targa roof until the 2011 991. A new naturally aspirated engine called the M64 was used for 964 models, with a flat-6 displacement of 3.6 litres. Porsche substantially revised the suspension, replacing torsion bars with coil springs and shock absorbers. Power steering and ABS brakes were added to the 911 for the first time; both were standard. The exterior bumpers and fog lamps became flush with the car for better aerodynamics. A new electric rear spoiler raised at speeds above 50 mph and lowered down flush with the rear engine lid at lower speeds. A revised interior featured standard dual airbags beginning in 1990 for all North American production cars. A new automatic climate control system provided improved heating and cooling. Revised instrumentation housed a large set of warning lights that were tied into the car’s central warning system, alerting the driver to a possible problem or malfunction. The 964 was sold until 1993 when its place was taken by the 993. 62,172 were built. The car was not particularly well regarded by enthusiasts, with most preferring its predecessor or successor, but latterly, it has found greater favour and values are firming.

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Much rumoured for some time, the Cayman GT4 was officially launched at the 2015 Geneva Show, positioned to sit between the Cayman GTS and the 911 GT3. By the time of the official unveiling, the car was supposedly sold out many times over, though more recently it has become apparent that at least some Porsche dealers have been holding onto cars claiming that the first purchaser changed their mind, and then offering them to those who did not get one of the allocation a year ago, at vastly inflated prices. If true, this is very sharp practice indeed, but seems to be the sort to tricks that are becoming increasingly common as enthusiasts are being fleeced in the name of extra profit. For a starting price of around £65,000 in the UK, the lucky customer would get a car which used used a stiffened and strengthened Cayman bodyshell as a starting point, but lowered by 30mm . Porsche say that in fitting as many GT parts as possible, they did not make it out of a Cayman GTS, but rather they produced an entry-level mid-engined GT3 car. That sounds like PR spin to me, as of course the car does use an awful lot of parts from the regular Cayman. However, plenty is changed, too. There is a reworked version of the Carrera S’s 3.8-litre flat six engine, producing 380bhp at 7400rpm and 310lb ft at 4750-6000rpm, hooked up to a modified version of the Cayman GTS’s six-speed manual gearbox. A PDK dual-clutch automatic was considered but rejected, meaning the Cayman GT4 is manual only. This is enough to mean that the 0-62mph sprint takes 4.4sec and the top speed is 183mph, with combined fuel economy of 27.4mpg and CO2 emissions rated at 238g/km. The front axle and suspension are borrowed from the 911 GT3 and the rear axle and forged aluminium double wishbone suspension are completely new. Dampers are taken from the 911 GT3. The electric steering system from the 911 GT3 does make it onto the Cayman GT4 but is given new software. Stopping power is provided by standard steel brakes, or optional carbon-ceramics from the 911 GT3. The forged 20in alloy wheels were new and are shod with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres. The rear 295/30 ZR20 tyres are bespoke, but the front 245/35 ZR20s were borrowed from the 911 GT3 as they were “a perfect match”. design-wise, the goal was to create a “zero lift car”, but thanks to the extensive aerodynamic and cooling package on the car – which includes a front splitter, a larger front grille and increased frontal air intakes, side air intakes, not one but two rear spoilers and a fully functional diffuser – the Cayman GT4 produces as much downforce at speed (100kg) as the 911 GT3. Every single part on the Cayman GT4 has a functional use. Other design features include “cool” black glass on the front and rear lights, blackened twin central exhausts and quality stitching on the twin lightweight bucket seats, taken from the 918 Spyder, as small details adding to that ‘want factor’.Despite all the extra equipment, the Cayman GT4 weighs no more than a Cayman GTS, tipping the scales at 1340kg dry. You could delete items such as the sat-nav and air-con to save weight, but few customers did, just as with the 911 GT3 RS were just 2% of buyers deleted the air-con. Inside, the steering wheel was new. The sports seats were trimmed in both leather and Alcantara. Standard equipment included bi-xenon headlights, a sports exhaust system, a Sport Chrono Package with dynamic engine mounts, the Porsche Torque Vectoring system, a mechanical limited-slip differential at the rear and the Porsche Stability Management system. On the options list were items such as carbonfibre-reinforced, plastic-backed seats for the two-seat interior. These weigh just 15kg each and were inspired by the 918 Spyder. A customised version of the Sport Chrono Package was offered, as is a Club Sport Package. Initially it was declared that production would be very limited, but Porsche soon relented and far more were built than had originally been declared.

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RENAULT-ALPINE

The new A110 has been on sale for a couple of years now, and whilst total sales have levelled off once the initial demand was satisfied, there are often examples of the car at enthusiast events like this and so the only surprise perhaps is the fact that there was only one example here.

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SUBARU

This is a P1 version of the first generation Impreza. To counter the grey imports of high-performance Japanese variants, Subaru UK commissioned Prodrive to produce a limited edition of 1,000 two-door cars in Sonic Blue, called the WRX “P1”. Released in March 2000, they were taken from the STI Type R lines and used for the P1. The car was the only coupé version of the WRX STI GC chassis to receive ABS. In order to allow for ABS, the DCCD was dropped. Engine output was boosted to 276 bhp, and the suspension optimised for British roads. Options were available from Subaru consisting of four-piston front brake calipers, electric Recaro seats, 18-inch wheels and a P1 stamped backbox. The P1, or Prodrive One, is echoed in the name of the Prodrive P2 concept car. They are among the most sought after of all Subaru Impreza models now.

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Subaru introduced the “New Age” Impreza, the second generation car, to Japan in August 2000, and it arrived in Europe towards the end of that year. Larger in size compared to the previous iteration, the sedan increased its width by 40 millimetres (1.6 in), while the wagon notably increased by just 5 millimetres (0.2 in)—placing the two variants in different Japanese classification categories. The coupe body style from the first generation did not reappear for the new series, and the off-road appearance package that included contrasting-coloured bumpers did carry over forward. Marketed as a separate model line, this North America-only variant was, as before, badged the Outback Sport. Naturally aspirated flat-four (boxer) engines comprised the 1.5-litre EJ15, the 1.6-litre EJ16, the 2.0-litre EJ20, and the 2.5-litre EJ25. Turbocharged versions of the 2.0- and 2.5-litre engines were offered in the WRX and WRX STI models. STI models featured a more powerful 2.0-litre (2.5-litre outside of the Japanese market) turbocharged engine. WRX models featured a 2.0-litre turbocharged boxer engine until 2005, after which they switched to the 2.5-litre turbocharged engine. As with the first generation, the turbocharged STI variants were available in numerous specifications with a myriad of limited edition variants sold. The bug-eyed styling was not well received, and Subaru had two further attempts at the front end, neither of which was entirely successful, either, but enthusiasts were happy to overlook the gawky looks because the way the car drove. Subaru issued yearly updates to the STI, tweaking cosmetics and equipment levels, and also improving performance and handling. The car was replaced in 2007 by the third generation Impreza, widely regarded as inferior in many ways to this version.

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TOYOTA

No real surprise to see a Yaris GR here. This is definitely the enthusiast’s “car of the moment” and with nearly six months of deliveries having been completed, the car is an increasingly common sight at events like this.

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TRIUMPH

Three years after the launch of the Herald, Triumph created a more sporting version by putting a 1600cc 6 cylinder engine under the bonnet, calling the result the Vitesse. Handling of the early cars, on their swing axle suspension was best described as “interesting”, but Triumph worked hard to revise (tame!) it so by the time that the 2 litre models were launched in 1965, the car was rather easier to drive briskly on bendy roads. A Mark 2 version was launched in 1968, with new front end styling and other trim differences, and the model lived on until 1971. To be seen here was a 2 litre Saloon.

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TVR

The Tuscan was launched in 2000, by which time there had been a series of what we think of as the modern era TVRs produced for nearly a decade, the Cerbera, Griffith and Cerbera. The Tuscan did not replace any of them, but was intended to help with the company’s ambitious push further up market to become a sort of Blackpool-built alternative to Ferrari. It did not lack the styling for the task, and unlike the preceding models with their Rover V8 engines, the new car came with TVR’s own engine, a straight six unit of 3.6 litre capacity putting out 360 bhp. The Tuscan was intended to be the grand tourer of the range, perfectly practical for everyday use, though with only two seats, no ABS, no airbags and no traction control, it was a tough sell on wet days in a more safety conscious world, but at least there was a removable targa top roof panel for those days when the sun came out. The car may have lacked the rumble of a V8, but when pushed hard, the sound track from the engine was still pretty special, and the car was faster than the Cerbera, but sadly, the car proved less than reliable, which really started to harm TVR’s reputation, something which would ultimately prove to be its undoing.

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VOLKSWAGEN

I’m not quite sure where to being in trying to describe this, so perhaps I had better just let the pictures do the talking instead. Parked by the entrance to the main building, this Golf 2- based machine was certainly a talking point!

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VOLVO

Now quite a rare sighting, this is a 480ES, a car produced in Born, Netherlands, at the factory that built DAF cars, including the DAF 66 based Volvo 66, and later, the Volvo 300 Series. It was the first front-wheel drive car made by the automaker. The 480 was available in only one body style on an automobile platform related to the Volvo 440/460 five door hatchback and four door sedan models. It featured an unusual four seat, three door hatchback body, somewhere between liftback and estate in form, the first Volvo of its style since the P1800ES, and the last until the unveiling of the C30. All of these models featured a frameless glass hatch for cargo access.. Volvo took six years from the time the 480 was conceived, through its development, and finally brought to production readiness. Designed by Volvo’s Dutch subsidiary, the “sporty 480 ES coupe” was introduced to change the automaker’s “frumpy image” and into the “yuppie” market segment. The concept was to market a modern, compact front wheel drive car with a unique low slung design targeting buyers “between 25 and 40, probably with a higher than average education and with a career.” The press launch was on October 15, 1985, but the 480 was first put on public show at Geneva in March 1986, becoming available to the buyers in 1987. It was initially well received, with the press describing it as having a “sleek hatch body” in contrast to Volvo’s traditional “boxcar look”. Because the 480 was originally planned for the North American market (evidenced by its front and rear side markers, not used on European automobiles). it was, Volvo claimed, one of the first cars sold in Europe featuring bumpers designed to comply with United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulations to withstand a 5 mph front rear impact without damage to the engine, lights, and safety equipment. This was the only Volvo to feature pop up headlamps for better aerodynamics. Volvo highlighted that the car was “well-endowed with advanced electronics” and the automaker’s press release described in detail the numerous features, though some of these would prove to be the cause of the reliability problems that plagued early cars. The 480 had good handling, due in part to its Lotus designed suspension. The normally aspirated Renault engines were reliable. The 1987 models were available with ABS as an optional extra. In 1988, a Turbo version was introduced, the Garrett AiResearch turbocharger increasing the power from 108 bhp to 118 bhp. Maximum torque was 129 lb-ft compared to 103 lb-ft for the naturally aspirated engine. In 1993 new legislation meant that catalytic converters had to be fitted to unleaded petrol engines, power dropped and so the 2.0 litre engine was developed; it was rated at 108 bhp and 122 lb-ft. A four-speed automatic transmission was also offered. In 1991, the 480 received new mirrors, headrests for the back seats, as well as subtle modifications to the trim and body colour bumpers. The 2.0 naturally aspirated engine was also introduced, again based on the Renault F3 engine. Changes between the CEM (Central Electronic Module) are externally apparent with the introduction of a total closure system whereby the key can be held in the lock position to close the windows and (where fitted) sunroof. Earlier CEM modules feature a “passing” function for the wipers, whereby fully depressing the accelerator pedal will switch intermittent wipers to full. Early 1992 saw the first release of special editions such as the “TwoTone”. 1994 saw the United Kingdom release of the “Celebration” limited edition of 480 specially equipped and numbered cars. In 1994, the 480 also received its last light update, and now sported clear front turn signals. Production ended on 7 September 1995. According to the Volvo Museum, 76,375 cars in ES and Turbo versions were made between 1986 and 1995.

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Once again, Caffeine & Machine entertained me for a good couple of hours, and would have done so for a little longer had I not needed to get on the road to reach my evening destination in time to settle in front of the tv to watch the “big game” in Euro 2020. For sure it will not be long before I return.

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